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For the Public Good

Rappaport Center Arrives at BC Law with Historic Gift

Jerome Rappaport
Jerome Rappaport, founder of the Phyllis & Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation, at a reception for the Rappaport Center’s 2015 fellows, the first since a landmark commitment brought the center to BC Law.

If lawyers are the “architects of a just society,” as former dean Robert Drinan, S.J., liked to say, then the latest blueprints are being produced at BC Law, now the home of the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy.

The school secured the 15-year-old center over numerous Boston-area competitors and garnered its largest ever gift—$7.53 million from the Rappaport Foundation, established by philanthropists Jerome and Phyllis Rappaport. This landmark commitment will also fund the Jerome Lyle Rappaport Visiting Professorship in Law and Public Policy at BC Law, which complements the center’s public policy focus.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the results of the foundation’s intensive search,” says Law School Dean Vincent Rougeau. “We’re proud of our distinctive public service mission and our track record in training public policy leaders. We’re grateful that such an acclaimed center has chosen BC Law for its future.”

Established in 2000 and endowed at Suffolk University Law School in 2006, the Rappaport Center has become a nexus for academic discourse, career mentorship, and financial support for those pursuing public policy careers. The center examines policy issues impacting Boston and its environs and will collaborate with the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at Harvard University.

“The move to Boston College gives the center a real opportunity to build on the foundation’s successes, while partnering with one of the nation’s leading schools of law,” says Jerome Rappaport. “The center is dedicated to change, and the way in which you achieve the maximum impact is by enabling emerging leaders to realize how effectively they can participate in policy and decision making.”

Rappaport Fellows
Three of this year’s 12 Rappaport Fellows are from BC Law:
(l-r) James Bor, Malgorzata Mrózek, and Amani Kancey.

Student Centered, Socially Concious

One of the center’s signature initiatives is a fellows program that offers 12 paid summer internships to promising public-policy law students from seven Boston-area law schools, including three this year from BC Law. Fellows benefit from experiential learning opportunities in such fields as education law, civil rights, housing, and transportation policy. Past recipients have partnered with the Boston Mayor’s Office, the Office of the Legal Advisor to the Boston Public Schools, and the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General, among other high-profile appointments.

The Rappaport Fellows will become deeply enmeshed in local and state public policy issues and will be encouraged to create scholarly works related to their placements that could spur future faculty collaboration, according to Executive Director Elisabeth J. Medvedow.

“Another unique aspect is that these fellows gather weekly, under the guidance of the executive director, to reflect on their work,” says BC Law Professor R. Michael Cassidy, the center’s faculty director. “There is a collegiality that builds among the fellows, which allows them to participate in a diverse network that will help them hone their leadership skills and prepare for future success.”

Another key program is the Rappaport Distinguished Public Policy Series at BC Law, which will further extend the center’s broad reach. This year’s open forums will focus on timely issues that may include transportation policy, public education, mental health, and the criminal justice system.

“BC Law will be a nonpartisan facilitator for critical public policy issues facing the region,” says Medvedow. “We look forward to the Rappaport Center being the place where meaningful dialogue occurs.”

Jerome and Phyllis Rappaport (center) with BC Law Dean Vincent Rougeau and University President William P. Leahy, S.J.
Jerome and Phyllis Rappaport (center) with BC Law Dean Vincent Rougeau and University President William P. Leahy, S.J.

“The move to Boston College gives the center a real opportunity to build on the foundation’s successes, while partnering with one of the nation’s leading schools of law.”
—Jerome Rappaport




Boston College Alumni and Friends